The Ministry of AYUSH is working on a proposal to give ''yoga asana'' the status of sports to promote it and pave the way for its possible inclusion in Olympic games.
The National Board for Promotion and Development of Yoga and Naturopathy has recommended recognising yoga asana as a sport so that more youths adopt it, a government official said.
"Promoting it as a sport will be an added attraction for the youth. So maybe by the time we have the Olympics in 2036 or 2040, yoga asanas may find a place in the mega event," the official said, adding there were very few sports of eastern, Asian or Indian origin in the international sports arena.
Joint Secretary in Ministry of AYUSH P N Ranjit Kumar said the proposal is currently under consideration and the ministry is in talks with the Sports Ministry over the issue.
Speaking at the ''6th India Wellness Conclave 2019 - Nurturing the Wellness Industry for a Healthier and Happier India'', organised by FICCI on Wednesday, he said that with India targeting to become a USD 5 trillion economy by 2024, the contribution of the wellness industry is poised to be USD 50 billion at current growth rate.
"However, we should aim for a faster growth to make it USD 100 billion industry and centre of new India growth story," he said.
Stressing that yoga was gaining popularity world over, Mr Kumar said that while there were 85 lakh people who participated on the International Day of Yoga in 2016, it rose to 2.8 crore in 2017, 9.5 crore in 2018 and 13 crore this year according to provisional figures.
"These are people who follow the yoga protocol on their own without compulsion. It''s not about yoga. It's about wellness, about maintaining one''s own health, taking care of self and about a happier India," he said.
The government is setting up Naturopathy Certification Board on the lines of Yoga Certification Board, Mr Kumar added.
To support formalisation of the highly unorganised wellness and beauty industry, Dr Harish Nadkarni, CEO, National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH) said, "If cost is the concern for NABH accreditation, we can come out with entry level standards for the wellness centre, which will be win-win proposition for both the industry as well as NABH."
Sharad Marathe, Chairman, AYUSH Task Force in the ministry said that the industry players should target the global market and that skill development will happen the moment market demands for it.